Ravens Can Find Their Blocking Tight End in this Draft

NFL Draft Ravens Can Find Their Blocking Tight End in this Draft

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Continuing our series of potential tight end targets in this year’s draft for the Baltimore Ravens, we have a double duty.

Two similar tight ends, Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins (who we’ll refer to as “ASJ” for the rest of the article) and Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz are potential day two options that may be of interest to Baltimore.

They get paired together because their roles in college were nearly identical, and in terms of NFL projections, their roles figure to be the same at the professional level.

Working under the assumption that we’ve had for a while – that the Ravens will likely re-sign Dennis Pitta – it would behoove the Ravens to look into adding a tight end with a blocking background during the offseason.

They don’t have to add a blocking pass catcher, but for Gary Kubiak to do the things he likely wants to, it seems like a glaring piece of the puzzle that’s missing.

In the draft, ASJ and Fiedorowicz are two of the most reliable blocking tight ends, and their skill sets figure to translate to in-line roles in the NFL. Both project as very good number two tight ends, and it’s unlikely they’ll provide enough on the receiving end to be more than that. Of the two, ASJ likely has more upside, as he showed flashes of being more of a downfield threat than Fiedorowicz in college.

The blocking aspect of their games is well documented, and ASJ could turn out to be the best blocking tight end from this year’s class.

Just for reference, both have good form when blocking, locking on with their long arms and keeping a wide base, which is usually the most important part.

Here’s ASJ.

And here’s Fiedorowicz.

With that being the known, the unknown is how effective either can be as a receiver.

Both make their living in the intermediate passing game, especially Fiedorowicz, who mastered the out route to perfection in Iowa’s limited offense.  It’s hard to project how well Fiedorowicz can perform in the mid-to-deep passing game, because he almost never had a chance to take on that role in college.

If you take a look at his average yards per catch during his career, it’s not hard to notice the limitations of Iowa’s offense.

Where Fiedorowicz projects best is as a sure-handed, short passing game go-to man, particularly in the red zone. Essentially, a role similar to Pitta as a receiver (but a bit more limited) with more blocking ability.

In the red zone, Fiedorowicz proved himself as someone who could surprisingly high-point balls in confined spaces despite his average athleticism.

An NFL offense can never have too many go-to red zone receivers, especially the Ravens, who had their fair share of struggles inside the 20-yard line last season.

Fiedorowicz could help in that role for any offense.

ASJ also displayed his ability to be a red zone tight end, and like Fiedorowicz, he’ll be confined to a similar role in the NFL. He’s built more like a slimmer offensive tackle than a tight end, and if the former Husky truly wanted to, he could transition to that role in the NFL.

If he didn’t provide the value he does as a receiver, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him try to switch to offensive tackle, but his combination of athletic ability and reliable hands will likely keep him at tight end for his career, as he can be a reliable short-yardage target.

In Washington’s bowl game last season, ASJ displayed his red zone ability. His quarterback put the ball where only his receiver could catch it, and ASJ was up to the task.

That’s just a glimpse of what he could do for an NFL offense.

Compared to Fiedorowicz, ASJ can work his way downfield with a bit more speed, and is harder to bring down after the catch. Both are fairly reliable pass catchers, and ASJ’s after-the-catch ability helps separate him from other blocking tight ends.

In college, Washington’s offense didn’t limit him to just a short yardage role.

Neither tight end will come into the NFL and change the dynamic of an offense, but both project as valuable long-term number two options given their ability to take on lesser receiving roles.

It’d be hard to see either tight end ever catch more than 50 passes in a season, but if both can continue their blocking and red zone success, they can find a home in Baltimore – or on any other team in need of a blocking tight end.

If the Ravens truly desire a traditional tight end, who can both block effectively and catch passes, it wouldn’t be surprising to see these two be among the team’s day two options in the draft.

Screencaps c/o DraftBreakdown.com.

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Kyle Casey

About Kyle Casey

Kyle's love of football centers around analytics and the NFL Draft. He has held season tickets at M&T Bank Stadium since 2004, and currently resides in Section 243. A 2016 Mass Communications graduate of Towson University, Kyle now works in the IT staffing industry. He tries to find the balance between being rational and being a contrarian through writing. More from Kyle Casey


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